Reference Renaissanceat the University of Southern California Libraries Sara Tompson, Associate Dean, Public Service Catherine Quinlan, Dean of the USC Libraries
Reference Renaissance: Outline• The University of Southern California and the USC Libraries• Changing Paradigms & Practices• Doheny Memorial Library
The USC Libraries• 23 libraries and information centers, including health sciences• 240 library faculty and staff• 4.2 million volumes• E-resources (93K journals; 1.2K research databases)• Doheny Memorial Library (pictured) opened in 1932
Strategic Planning I• The Essential Library 2008-2009. – Planning committee – Libraries-wide forums – 300 objectives into 14 priorities – Foundational – Implementation task forces • Customer Service – including Reference
Strategic Planning II• The Essential Library 2011-2013. – Committee of the whole; Libraries-wide forums – Invited speakers; broad distribution of draft plan – More aspirational document – Dean’s Cabinet overseeing implementation – “Increase our capacity to deliver, evaluate, and improve reference services”
USC Libraries Vision The USC Libraries will be an innovative, inspiring, and integral partner in the scholarly achievements of USC faculty, students and staff.
USC Libraries MissionThe USC Libraries actively support the discovery, creation, and preservation of knowledge.We develop collections and services that support and encourage the academic endeavors of faculty, students, and staff; build a community of critical consumers of information; and help develop engaged world citizens.Through these means, we contribute to the continued success of the University of Southern California.
USC Libraries Values • Service excellence • Integrity • Scholarly inquiry • Innovation • Effective communication QR code for • Social responsibilityDiscoverability link • Library as place
Changing Paradigms and Practices: Reference Desks• Trends – Rise of Interweb and E- resources – Decline in face-to- face (rise in virtual) http://www.webpages.uidaho.edu/~mbolin/sonntag-palsson.htm
Changing Paradigms and Practices: Reference Desks• Relevance? – Hotly debated in library literature since 1986 • Continuum: close desks change nothing – Nolen’s 2010 "Reforming or Rejecting the Reference Desk: Conflict and Continuity in the Concept of Reference" in Library Philosophy & Practice provides overview
Changing Paradigms and Practices: Reference Desks• Revalidations – Natural swing to balance? – Clear need for instruction in research – 2007 ACRL panel “The Reference Question” – some anecdotes on renaissance – Ubiquitous Librarian blogger, 2008: 14% of ARL Libraries saw reference increases
Changing Paradigms and Practices: Social Networking• Electronic phenomenon – Web 2.0, Library 2.0 – See M.E. Casey & LC. Savastinuk, “Library 2.0” Library Journal 09/01/06 (online)• Ripples in physical world – “PSN”: complementing virtual reactions with physical ones – ACM and IEEE papers identified early on
Doheny Library Reference Desk• One-stop-shop (2004+): Reference in Circulation Consultation Room – Less visible, despite signage – Increased desire to retreat – Removed from most of Reference collection – Usage dropped, despite hope one-stop would boost
• Relocation of Service – User input recommended return to LA Times room site• Pilots – Fall 2008 – 1 month – at Circ desk – Acad Year 09-10 in Times room
Doheny Desk Renaissance• Surveys – fall 2008 & spring 2010 – Improvement in finding reference staff – Very positive about location – Very desirable study location (even sans outlets) – Large use by freshmen (a bit surprising) – #100 sample size
Doheny Desk Renaissance• Statistics – Fall 09 over Fall 08 ~72% increase! • Signs, stories helped • Increased instruction sessions helped – Fall 2010, decrease by ~ 5 ?s/day average – Room headcount • Fall 2009 ~ 39% > Fall 2008 • Spring stats less dramatic, but some increase
http://bit.ly/h2NHXj Conclusions • Move a definite success • Virtual reference also growing • Hybrid reference model for the foreseeable future • More groups participating in and with USC Libraries in other email@example.com ways as well firstname.lastname@example.org://www.usc.edu/libraries
Reference Desk Renaissance: ResourcesSee paper for complete list.Michael E. Casey and Laura C. Savastinuk, “Library 2.0”, LibraryJournal, September 1, 2006.The Essential Library: 2011-2013 (Los Angeles, University ofSouthern California, USC Libraries, 2010),https://www.usc.edu/libraries/essential/ .Barbara Ford, “Reference Beyond (and without) the Reference Desk,”College & Research Libraries 47, no.5 (September 1986): 491-494.Brian Mathews, “While Reference Stats Decline, Oregon surges+51%. A Glimpse at Some ARL Outliers,” The Ubiquitous Librarianblog, December 18, 2008.
Reference Desk Renaissance: Resources, p.2David S. Nolen, "Reforming or Rejecting the Reference Desk: Conflictand Continuity in the Concept of Reference," Library Philosophy andPractice (2010): 1-9.Marie L. Radford and Scott Vine, “An Exploration of the HybridReference Service Model: Keeping What Works” in ReferenceReborn: Breathing New Life into Public Services Librarianship, ed.Diane Zabel (Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited/ABC Clio, 2011).Mark Twain. “Chapters from my Autobiography: I”. North AmericanReview DXCVIII, September 7, 1906.Gabriela Sonntag and Felicia Palsson, “No Longer the Sacred Cow -No Longer a Desk: Transforming Reference Service to Meet 21stCentury User Needs,” Library Philosophy and Practice 2007.